It was indeed a black Saturday in Akwa Ibom State, as a man, his whole family were among more than 20 members of the Jehovah’s Witness Church that got perished in a fatal road accident along the Utu Etim Ekpo road, in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area of the state.
The tragic incident which occurred on their way to the Church’s annual convention in Ikot Ekpene Local Government area of the state also left 40 other members of the church severely injured.
It was gathered that more than 70 members of the church had hired a Lorry from Ukanafun Local Government Area to Ikot Ekpene for the three-day annual district convention on Friday, but on their way, tragedy struck, leaving many members of the church dead.
The corpses and those injured in the accident were said to have been taken to nearby hospitals and mortuaries.
Narrating to the press how it all happened, Mr. Friday John, an eye-witness said the people who died may have been more than what was seen because a whole family was persihed in the accident.
“Many people died, more than 18. In fact, we couldn’t count the number because there were many corpses, including husband, wife and children and they were all taken to the mortuary in various hospitals near Etim Ekpo here,” John explained.
Another eyewitness, Mr. Ndipmo Nkanta, said the Lorry conveying the deceased and the injured passengers was not meant for passengers, but for goods only. The secondary school teacher also blamed the accident on poverty , arguing that if there was a better alternative, such casualties wouldn’t have been recorded, especially as they were going to a religious gathering.
In his report, Mr. Godgift Uwen, Akwa-Ibom state Public Relations Officer of the Federal Road Safety Corps, attributed the cause of the incident to over-speeding and overloading by the driver of the Lorry.
He however advised against careless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol, especially in the yuletide, because, according to him, those are the major causes of road mishap.